Natural Foods Merchandiser

Food Bites

USDA Tells All
Do your customers enthusiastically study nutrition fact boxes as if they were searching for a message in tea leaves? Now curious consumers who aren't satisfied with the information available on labels have another resource—the U.S. Department of Agriculture's comprehensive online nutritional database.

Called the Nutrient Data Laboratory, it includes more than 6,000 foods and lists 117 nutrient categories. Shoppers can search by food name or by nutrient to find foods that contain it. The database also provides calorie and fat information.

Located at, the database is another step in the government's campaign to teach healthier eating habits.

China Going Gree
n In China's most northeastern region, Heilongjiang Province, organic cultivation is providing farmers a brighter economic future. According to agricultural authorities, this boom is attributable to more and more health-conscious Chinese buying organic foods, from staples such as rice and grain to specialty items like cheese and wine.

The scale of what is called "green food" production is still small, but experts are optimistic. Annual production is about 3 percent of the total food market—a 29-fold increase from just a decade ago.

Long-term goals include increased acreage and global export of the country's organic products. Labeled "green and healthy," provincial authorities are hoping to tap into the growing demand for organics in Japanese and European markets.

For the Love of Soy
Dana Jacobi used to sneak soy into almost every dish she made. The featured columnist, former marketing executive and cookbook author, whose latest title is Amazing Soy (HarperCollins, 2001), would invite friends and skeptics to her apartment for dinner. "The idea—just for fun—was to make dishes so delicious that no one ever knew," she says.

Jacobi leaves no soy stone unturned in her latest book, which features more than 250 recipes for every eating occasion, from working lunches to elegant dinners and from authentic Asian meals to luscious desserts. A comprehensive soy guide, the book breaks down the wide range of soy-food products and gives cooking tips on dealing with this versatile staple.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 11/p. 20

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